Friday, May 28, 2010

Lib Dems seek to overturn result in Phil Woolas's constituency

BBC News reports:
An election candidate who lost out to former Labour minister Phil Woolas by 103 votes is challenging the result.

Liberal Democrat Elwyn Watkins came second in Oldham East and Saddleworth on 7 May following two recounts.

But he claims Labour leaflets contained misleading claims about his reputation and campaign and has begun a High Court bid to have the result quashed.
You can find more information on Elwyn Watkins' own webpage. There he is quoted as saying:
"It is clear that Labour literature circulated within the Oldham East and Saddleworth constituency, specifically 'The Examiner' newspaper, an edition of the 'Labour Rose', and a full-colour 'Election Communication' leaflet, contained numerous misleading and erroneous claims regarding my personal character and reputation, and that of my campaign.
"Although much of the material in these leaflets was misleading or in error, my case will focus on three particular areas: the claim that I do not live in the constituency, the stories about me 'wooing' Muslim extremists and the back page newspaper article regarding the financing of my campaign.
"It is my intention, therefore, to petition for an election court to consider the material and the false claims within, against the record of press statements, personal appearances, miscellaneous correspondence from government agencies and election expense returns, and to seek appropriate redress in accordance with the provisions of the Act."

6 comments:

Matthew said...

Having worked on the OES campaign - and having worked previous GE's as a comparator - I can say with confidence that Woolas' material is the worst I have ever seen. Baseless innuendo, fearmongering insinuation along race lines, and just plain lies are the main tactics of Woolas and his agent, Joe Fitzpatrick. For those who want the gory detail, see www.thestraightchoice.org/leaflets and type in the seat. Note that the tabloid and A3 Rose were NOT circulated to Muslim areas, for obvious reasons, rather targetting white, blue collar in urban Oldham wards.

Matthew Maguire

Helen said...

Thanks for the links Jonathan and Matthew. Truly scandalous. It'll be an interesting legal case that will have ramifications for all our campaigns. I hope that it goes the right way, and that this sort of outright lying and misinformation is clearly shown to be illegal in case law. It is shameful that a minister of the crown should behave in the way he has. Pleasingly, I understand that Woolas and his agent would get a conviction against themselves personally.

Glyn H said...

I came across Woolas as a minister; as a sole trader the small business tax relief provisions helped me but the drafting was poor and Mr Woolas argued black was White -or rather that what the regulations said were not what they had intended; therefore I was not entiltled to the relief. I could not afford to challenge this legally so I had to shut up and pay up.

As an example of lefty authoritarianism and New Labours cavalier attitude to the mechanisms of government I have seen no better example.

That the Opposition cannot supply a front bench spokesman for QT (and I don't have or watch TV) and resort to the utterly discredited Campbell shows the depth of their failure.

Lizzie said...

I'm really glad that Mr Watkins has done this. It looks like Mr Woolas just threw a bucketfull of smears and saw what stuck. Presumably Mr Watkins thinks he'll win if he's bothered to go to through all of this - and pay the expense. Good luck - it should clean up campaigning a bit.

ChrisG said...

Having spent most of my adult life campaigning against Liberal/Liberal Democrats, I have to say that you're being incredibly whingy about this.

Throwing enough mud hoping some sticks?

Misrepresenting opponents comments?

Buckets full of smears?

Misinformation and baseless innuendo?

All pretty standard Lib Dem tactics, dating back to Bermondsey - if not before.

You're in government now. It's really time you all grew up.

Anonymous said...

You should have seen what the Lib Dem leaflets said about Phil Woolas!
elwyn moved into his Delph home 6 weeks before the elction.
he failed to distance himslef from an extremist group that were issuing death threats to Phil and asking people to vote for Elwyn.
According to the BBC Newsnight team he paid the people who worked for him less than the minimum wage.
So what is wrong with speaking the truth.
Sadleworthonian